Image_1_Pan-Cancer Analysis of Potential Synthetic Lethal Drug Targets Specific to Alterations in DNA Damage Response.TIF
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Alterations in DNA damage response (DDR) is one of the several hallmarks of cancer. Genomic instability resulting from a disrupted DDR mechanism is known to contribute to cancer progression, and are subjected to radiation, cytotoxic, or more recently targeted therapies with limited success. Synthetic lethality (SL), which is a condition where simultaneous loss-of-function of the genes from complementary pathways result in loss of viability of cancer cells have been exploited to treat malignancies resulting from defects in certain DDR pathways. Albeit being a promising therapeutic strategy, number of SL based drugs currently in clinical trial is limited. In this work we performed a comprehensive pan-cancer analysis of alterations in 10 DDR pathways with different components of DNA repair. Using unsupervised clustering of single sample enrichment of these pathways in 7,272 tumor samples from 17 tumor types from TCGA, we identified three prominent clusters, each associated with specific DDR mechanisms. Somatic mutations in key DDR genes were found to be dominant in each of these three clusters with distinct DDR component. Using a machine-learning based algorithm we predicted SL partners specific to somatic mutations in key genes representing each of the three DDR clusters and identified potential druggable targets. We explored the potential FDA-approved drugs for targeting the predicted SL genes and tested the sensitivity using the drug screening data in cell lines with mutation in the primary DDR genes. We have shown clinical relevance, for selected targetable SL interactions using Kaplan-Meier analysis in terms of improved disease-free survival. Thus, our computational framework provides a basis for clinically relevant and actionable SL based drug targets specific to alterations in DDR pathways.
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